ARLINGTON, Texas — Aaron Boone did not attempt to talk himself into believing that three September starts by Luis Severino were enough for the right-hander to be a big cog in the Yankees’ October dreams.
“If we are going to do great things [Severino] is going to be a part of that,’’ Boone said of the right-hander, who lasted just three innings in his third and final start of the regular season and didn’t shine. “You have to deal with the stumbles that you have when you are finding your way.’’
Not feeling comfortable in the first inning, Severino’s stumbles included giving up two runs, a double and three walks that sent the Yankees on the path to a 9-4 loss Saturday night to the Rangers in front of 42,870 at Globe Life Park.
With no more games after Sunday’s season finale until Game 1 of the ALDS against the Twins on Friday at Yankee Stadium, Severino’s brief body of work has to be enough to help the Yankees advance to the ALCS.
Boone hasn’t announced his ALDS rotation, but Severino will start within the first three games. If James Paxton’s glute issue doesn’t get in the way he will start one of the games and the Yankees could use an opener in front of Masahiro Tanaka at some point. That would leave left-handed starters J.A. Happ and CC Sabathia in the bullpen.
“Just OK, obviously a little tough start there in the first when he walked a few guys and threw a lot of pitches,’’ Boone said of Severino, who required 33 pitches to get three outs. “Then I thought he did a good job of coming out in the second and third innings and having a better temp to him and a little sharper with his pitches.’’
Before the game Boone said he could push Severino into the 80-90 pitch range but decided 72 were enough.
“All in all, enough of a buildup as we head into the playoffs,’’ Boone said. “Obviously not as sharp as the last two [starts] but I thought a nice rebound from the first inning when he struggled.’’
Severino gave two runs, a hit, walked four and struck out four and said the opening inning was a case of not feeling comfortable on the mound on a night when the first-pitch temperature was 94 degrees.
“I was uncomfortable on the mound. The second and third I felt more like myself,’’ Severino said.
Asked to elaborate about the first inning, Severino said, “Fastball was all over the place.’’
Severino whose season didn’t start until Sept. 17 due to an inflamed right rotator cuff and a lat injury was calmed by the wildness not being caused by a bothersome body part.
“It was not my best start but more important I feel healthy,’’ Severino said.
Three starts to get ready for the muscular Twins isn’t ideal, but that is the situation the Yankees and Severino are in. Losing 18-game winner Domingo German to a MLB investigation into an alleged domestic violence issue denied the Yankees of a very valuable right arm to face the Twins. Paxton’s lat issue doesn’t appear serious but …
“In October everything is different. If I go five innings I will be happy,’’ Severino said. “We have a great bullpen.’’
There is no denying that but having Dellin Betances would have helped. So, too, would having Chad Green as a full-time member, but there is a chance he could be used as an opener.
“They have a good lineup, and we have a good lineup so we will see,’’ Severino said of the Twins.
What the Yankees will see depends largely on what Severino delivers.